Cover from Taliban threat
New Delhi has decided to beef up security for Indians working on several government projects in Afghanistan.Updated: Jan 07, 2006 02:56 IST
New Delhi has decided to beef up security for Indians working on several government projects in Afghanistan. Two special teams sent to Afghanistan to review the security situation last month have, however, ruled out recalling Indians working there. The teams, made up of senior security experts and external affairs ministry officials, have instead recommended that additional security personnel be deployed to ensure the safety of Indians associated with "humanitarian" projects.
The security review was carried out after five Indians took refuge at the Indian consulate in Kandahar (reported in HT) after receiving life threats in December last year. The two doctors and three paramedics attached to the Indian medical mission in the city are still at the consulate but attend the medical mission daily.
While in Kabul, the two teams met with local security authorities to discuss ways of enhancing security for Indians attached to projects that can't be halted midway. It has also been decided that intelligence exchange will be intensified.
According to sources, it is evident that the threats being issued to Indians to abandon their work and leave Afghanistan are serious and not a "one-off" incident. There is reportedly enough evidence gathered by local intelligence and Indian authorities to indicate that these threats are coming from resurgent Taliban groups still active along the Afghan-Pak border.
An MEA official has disclosed that the Taliban continues to issue threats to Indians. "The security situation is far from comfortable. This was known when India started its projects there. At the same time, it is imperative to carry on with the humanitarian work there. Those manning hospitals, dispensaries and involved with road construction projects were fully aware before leaving for Afghanistan that they would have to work under adverse security conditions."
According to the official, Indian doctors attend to as many as 300 patients a day. The Indian medical mission on the Iran-Afghanistan border is the only place for medical aid in the region.